Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

When you’re caring for an elderly loved one, it’s easy to put everyone else’s needs ahead of your own. However, as 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to make some resolutions to preserve your happiness and state of mind in the year ahead. Some great resolutions for caregivers in 2014 include:

Know that your efforts are appreciated

While your elderly loved one, siblings, and other family members may not say “thank you” as often as they should, know in your heart that your efforts are appreciated. It’s easy to wait for other people to acknowledge the work you put in, but this can leave you feeling disappointed. Don’t wait for other people to thank you for your efforts. Know that you are essential for your senior’s well being, and feel good about the work you do each day.

Take time for yourself

Your schedule is probably busy maintaining your relationship with your spouse, shuttling kids to appointments, and making sure that your senior’s fridge is fully stocked. Because of this, you may never take a moment to get your nails done, enjoy a good book, or simply sit and watch mindless television. However, in order to be the best caregiver you can be, eldercare professionals explain that taking time for yourself is one of the most important things you can do. Even if it’s just a half hour each day, when you’re caring for the elderly people in your life day in and day out, making time to rest and recharge is a must.

Ask for help

Nobody can do everything on their own. Even the most competent and capable people need backup sometimes to get to all of the tasks on their “to do” list. If you find yourself overwhelmed trying to prepare food for your senior, take them to appointments, and make sure that their home is clean, it may be time to call on a home care professional for assistance. 

Even having this person stop by once or twice a week to lend a hand may be the respite you need to feel reenergized and happy once again. This person can help with grocery shopping, light cleaning, meal preparation, and other tasks that are essential for your senior’s health. When it comes to home care, Chapel Hill based professionals explain that even just a little help can make a major difference in that caregiver’s life. 

Join a support group

Eldercare professionals also recommend that those who are regularly caring for elderly family members consider joining a support group. Caring for the elderly can be a struggle. It’s not easy to see parents age and weaken. However, a support group can be a powerful outlet to keep a caregiver feeling positive and relaxed. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

How to Help Your Senior Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

The holidays are full of joy and time with family, but the days and weeks afterward can actually be a prime time for feelings of sadness or depression. The eldercare professionals of Chapel Hill explain that your elderly loved one has probably spent months looking forward to Christmas parties and family gatherings, and may feel disappointed and wistful once they’re over. To help your senior overcome the post-holiday blues, keep these tips in mind:

Plan another excursion to look forward to

So the parties and huge family get-togethers may be over, but this doesn’t mean that the next few weeks and months need to be boring. To help your loved one get over their sadness that the holiday season is over, plan a fun excursion or activity to look forward to. You can go to dinner, see a play, or simply bundle up and take a walk around the neighborhood.

Help them declutter

A peaceful and clean living situation contributes significantly to your senior’s happiness. When they are spending a significant amount of time in a space that is filled with dirty dishes, papers, and clothes, they may find that their post-holiday sadness worsens. To ensure that their home is a place where they enjoy spending time, senior care professionals encourage family members to help their seniors straighten their space up. 

Together, you can go through old clothes and papers and discard items that are no longer needed. Move through their refrigerator and ask them to point out items that they are no longer eating. You may also consider hiring a professional cleaning service to come and give the space a deep clean. It’s amazing how significantly a clean home can impact your elderly loved one’s mood.

Bring them books or music they’ll love

If your senior has a favorite book genre, consider purchasing them a few titles that they can enjoy reading now that their busy holiday schedule has quieted down. You may also purchase DVDs or CDs featuring their favorite music, movies, or TV shows. 

Spend time with them
Though the holiday season is coming to a close, there’s no reason why bonding with family has to stop. Make it a point to drop in on your elderly loved one regularly. Invite them over for dinner, or take them out for a cup of coffee. The activities don’t have to be expensive to be meaningful.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Safety Tips for Cold Medicine

The symptoms of a common cold can be pesky at best, and serious in some instances. However, while you may want to offer your senior medication to help them feel better as they fight off a cold, home care professionals remind you that some over the counter cold medicine may interact negatively with prescription drugs that your elderly loved one is taking.

How to proceed

Prior to offering your elderly loved one any sort of medication, even a decongestant, eldercare professionals encourage you to seek guidance from a doctor. This person can also indicate whether mixing certain prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications would cause a health problem.

You can also consult with a pharmacist about how any prescription drugs that the elderly person takes may interact with common cold medicines. Make sure that you have a complete list of the drugs your senior is currently taking, including dosage, as you ask the pharmacist for advice. 

The facts about cold medicine

A decongestant can prove useful if your elderly loved one is dealing with nasal or sinus problems. However, understand that decongestants can increase heart rate, and are known to cause anxiety and insomnia in some people. For this reason, it is important to ask a doctor if your senior is able to take these medications safely before issuing them. As long as the person’s blood pressure is controlled using medication, they are probably fine to take these kinds of medications. However, it is always smart to verify just in case. If your senior has high blood pressure that is not yet under control, check with a doctor first for their recommendation about how to proceed.

Decongestants can safely be taken with antihistamines, though it is important not to overdo the recommended dosage instructions. Keep in mind that over-the-counter antihistamines that contain diphenhydramine may make the user drowsy. Do not give your elderly loved one this kind of medication if they need to drive.

Using nasal decongestants effectively

Nasal decongestants open up breathing passages, however when a person uses them for more than three days in a row they may suffer a “rebound” effect. As a result, they can end up more congested than they were to begin with. For this reason, senior health experts recommend using nasal decongestants for less than three days at a time. If symptoms persist afterward, it is time to seek help from a medical professional. Another useful option is a saline spray, which can loosen mucus without relying on medication. Though they work slower than other options, they also do not cause rebound effects.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Keeping Your Senior Safe From Falls This Winter

As temperatures drop and ice becomes prevalent, your senior’s risk of enduring a slip or a fall becomes higher. While a younger person may be able to just dust themselves off after a fall, for an elderly individual these incidents can be devastating. In fact, in many cases they result in broken bones and other serious injuries. To keep your elderly loved one safe this winter, keep these tips in mind:

Encourage them to wear proper footwear

When shoes become worn, the traction essentially disappears. This sets a senior up for a slip or fall as they pass over a slick area. To prevent this from happening, make sure that your loved one’s footwear is in good condition. Encourage them to wear sturdy shoes that will provide a strong grip as they move about potentially icy conditions. This means persuading them to ditch heeled shoes or boots in favor of a more stable option. 

Keep the property clear

The home care professionals of Chapel Hill explain that an important part of elder care is ensuring that an elderly individual’s property is taken care of. This may mean hiring someone to shovel snow and put salt down so that ice disappears. If your loved one is no longer able to take care of these tasks on their own, hire a senior care professional to help or consider having a professional snow removal service come by and attend to the property regularly. 

Encourage your senior to take their time

When conditions are slippery, you should remind your elderly loved one to take their time as they move from place to place. They may feel guilty about moving slowly and try to quicken their pace as a result, but doing so can put them at risk of falling. Remind your senior that there is no need to rush, and that you are more than happy to wait for them as they slow down their pace. Encourage them to take as long as they need to get safely from one area to the next. An important part of caring for elderly family members is reminding them that you are there to support and not to judge.

Rely on help from an elder care professional

During the winter months, assistance from an elder care professional is often necessary in order to lessen your senior’s risk of slips and falls. When they do not have to head out and check the mail or shovel the sidewalk on their own, your senior’s chances of falling are greatly reduced. Even if you only have someone come assist one or two days per week, this can be a lifesaving change.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Holiday Songs Your Senior Will Love

Listening to holiday music is one of the best ways to get into the spirit of the season, note home care professionals. Best of all, it’s easy to listen to these kinds of songs, no matter where you are. You can buy a CD, download the songs on iTunes, or simply pull up YouTube and pick and choose what you’d like to hear. If you’re searching for some holiday themed songs that your senior will love, here are some popular choices to explore.

“The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole

This particular version is widely believed to be one of the best. The song is also often referred to as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire,” as this lyric is found in the song’s opening line.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Judy Garland

When it comes to caring for the elderly, it is often wise to connect with them about favorite childhood memories. This song was performed by Judy Garland in the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis. Your senior may have fond memories of the time when this song debuted, so listening to it is a great idea during the holiday season.

“O Holy Night” by Celine Dion

This song was originally composed in 1847, and has continued to be a favorite over the years. Celine Dion put her own twist on the tune in 1998.

“Santa Claus is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen

Created in 1934, this song was an instant hit. Legendary rock musician Bruce Springsteen has made his own version a signature part of his live concerts during the holiday season.

“Little Drummer Boy”

This song was originally created in 1941, and an animated TV special was based around the song’s story in 1968. David Bowie and Bing Crosby worked together for a popular version that aired on the Bing Crosby Christmas special in 1977.

“White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

This song came about in 1942 as part of the movie musical Holiday Inn. It ended up winning an Academy Award for Best Song from a Motion Picture. The Bing Crosby version of the tune has sold over 50 million copies.

“All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey

A contemporary holiday classic, this song debuted on Mariah Carey’s 1994 holiday album. It has sold over four million copies worldwide.

No matter what style of music your senior loves, eldercare professionals explain that holiday songs are the perfect way to make the season festive for your elderly loved one.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to Help Your Senior Sell Their Home

Whether your senior is ready to downsize, move in with family, or is planning on heading to a new community, preparing their home for sale is important. Family members should help their elderly loved one ensure that they are getting compensated accordingly. In order to help your senior sell their home successfully, keep these tips in mind.

Find someone who specializes in this kind of sale

There are special programs where real estate agents receive training on senior housing. Seek out an agent who has an understanding of senior housing needs, as well as the implications of certain financial transactions. When the realtor you work with has your elderly loved one’s best interests in mind, it makes it easier to ensure that the sale goes smoothly.

Know what the home is worth

When your elderly loved one has resided in their current home for many years, it can become difficult to maintain a real sense of the value of the property. However, blindly accepting an offer without learning about the residence’s value is doing your senior a disservice, note the home care professionals of Chapel Hill.

Part of eldercare is ensuring that your loved one does not make any major financial mistakes, which means that they need to learn what their home is really worth. To do this, review the comparative market analysis that the real estate agent will provide you. This includes data from that area, including information about what similar homes have sold for recently. These details can help you guide your elderly loved one to making a smart choice as they prepare to sell.

Help your loved one declutter

When your senior is getting ready to sell their home, you will want to work with them to make the house look its best before potential buyers come to look at it. Those who care for elderly individuals explain that this is often a challenge, as your elderly loved one probably has a wide variety of belongings that they’ve accumulated throughout the years they’ve lived in the home. Be sensitive as you help them sort through their belongings, deciding what will come with them, what will get donated, and what will get thrown out. A clean, clutter-free home is much more attractive to prospective buyers, but the process behind it takes time.

While preparing your senior’s home for sale is no easy undertaking, working together ensures that your elderly loved one will make a smart financial decision.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Protecting Your Senior with the Flu Shot

Though the holiday season is an exciting and joyous time of year, it also signifies the start of flu season. For seniors especially, this time of year can become dangerous, as elderly individuals are more likely to contract the flu. While the flu will sideline anyone, it is even more risky for seniors, as their immune systems are often already weakened. The flu can exasperate current health problems too, making vaccination important.

Get the flu facts

Experts state that roughly 90 percent of flu-related deaths and 60 percent of flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. occur in people over the age of 65.1 For this reason, it is important to encourage your elderly loved one to get vaccinated so that they are less susceptible to this condition.

Protecting your senior

Ensuring good senior health comes down to attention to detail. Understand that your elderly loved one may have a weakened immune system, and encourage all people who come into contact with that senior to get a shot too. It’s not enough just to get your senior vaccinated, as they may quickly contract the illness from someone else. All family members, eldercare professionals, and friends who regularly come to visit should receive their vaccination too.

Practice good health habits

Even once the elderly individual and those who care for that person are vaccinated, it’s important to keep the focus on hygiene. This means covering a sneeze or cough with your sleeve, washing hands frequently, and avoiding people who are sick and might spread the illness. Remember that germs quickly spread to doorknobs, hand railings, and other places where we place our hands frequently, so proper hand washing is a must after spending a day out in public.

Encourage your senior to wash their hands thoroughly after they use the bathroom and before they prepare a meal. When it comes to care for the elderly, this is an important step. If your senior needs assistance with hand washing, make sure someone is there to help so this step does not get skipped.

Get vaccinated in time

There are myths floating around that the flu shot actually gives the recipient the flu, but these theories are unfounded. The vaccine is safe, and is covered by Medicare. However keep in mind that it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to start working, so make plans to get your senior vaccinated before flu season starts. The flu makes chronic health problems in elderly people worse, so this form of protection is a necessity.

The Best Gifts to Give Your Senior This Holiday Season

As the holiday season approaches, it’s time to think about what you’ll give your senior this year. The ideal gift for your elderly loved one should be practical, while also containing emotional significance. When you care for elderly individuals, you will get to know them well enough to choose a meaningful gift. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

A photo in a beautiful frame or a digital picture frame

Regardless of whether your senior lives in an elder care facility or on their own, pictures add warmth and love to their living space. Choose a beautiful frame that goes with the d├ęcor of their home, or consider purchasing a digital picture frame. This gadget allows your senior to store their favorite shots, which then rotate.

Comfort gifts

As temperatures drop, your elderly loved one will benefit from warm, cozy gifts such as a handmade quilt or slippers. These pieces will keep the elderly individual warm, while also reminding them of their family.

Some of their favorite old movies

Your senior will delight in receiving some of the movies they grew up watching as a child. Watching these films will take them down memory lane, and can be a great way to spend time when it’s chilly out. As an added bonus, they can share these movies with their grandchildren, which provides for a unique bonding experience.

An e-reader

If your elderly loved one is a book worm, they will love being able to read their favorite titles without having to go out and purchase a new book every time. E-readers add a convenience factor that can’t be topped, and also help to prevent books from overcrowding that elderly individual’s living space.

A gift basket filled with their favorite small items

If you’re looking to get creative this holiday season, think about making a gift basket full of your elderly loved one’s favorite things. This might include their favorite candy, a type of lotion they love, or some magazines you know they’d like to read. Arrange the items in a cheerful way and you have a highly personalized yet practical present.

The gift of home care

If you are still feeling stumped about what to give your senior this holiday season, think about the gift of home care. Care for the elderly is an essential part of ensuring that your senior lives comfortably. As your gift, you can pay for a month’s worth of home care, thus making it easier for the elderly individual to get chores and errands done. For many people, this gift can become a life-changing present.

Incorporating gifts that are both practical and sentimental is the way to go as you select presents for your elderly loved one this holiday season.